The railway infrastructure company Adif has started to install acoustic screens alongside railway tracks to minimise the noise caused by trains passing along lines adjacent to local towns.
This new project has started to cause some inconvenience in several of the affected towns, including Sitges, as the screens will have a serious visual impact, not only in the area of the station but along the entire railway lines that are located in the centre of towns.
The screens are three metres high and in some sections can reach seven metres, and they are opaque screens. In addition to the visual impact, in certain areas the screens could also occupy adjacent spaces such as sidewalks, complicating mobility for neighbours, and also the loss of parking spaces. There is also the fear that the screens could increase the feeling of insecurity in some urban areas, where the visibility of open space could become zero.
Adif has already started the process of expropriation of land in order to allow putting up the screens, while the Sitges Town Council has requested a delay of the project and more information, in order to address some of the issues that are arising. Other municipalities, such as Vilanova i la Geltrú, have already begun to file complaints that need to be addressed.
Sitges Town Planning Councillor, Eduard Terrado, said that ‘we will do everything possible to defend alternatives to acoustic screens and demand that noise pollution be addressed at the point of noise-emission, that is, on the engines of the trains, the carriages and on the railway lines that they travel’. He added that ‘we regret the scarce information that has been received about the project’.
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